3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Lancashire History - the Bronze Age around Anglezarke

PUBLISHED: 10:20 05 August 2013 | UPDATED: 10:20 05 August 2013

Noon Hill

Noon Hill

John Lenehan

John Lenehan digs deep into the history of Noon Hill

I am standing on a raised mound 380 metres (1250 feet) above sea level on the summit of a Lancashire hill. Below me are the open moors of Anglezarke an area of heather and grass on a bed of dark peat.

It is relatively treeless and the prevailing wind from the distant Irish Sea, blows freely and in winter brings rainclouds that soak the land. This can turn the peat into glutinous bogs often knee deep. It can however be staggeringly beautiful on these moors and on summer days with just the monotonous sound of a Skylark there can be few nicer places to be.

In front of me is a breathtaking panorama stretching north to the mountains of the Lake District and on a good day the Isle of Man, and south to the mountains of North Wales. In between the Fylde Plain stretches out and I can see the mouth of the Mersey, Blackpool, Heysham, and Barrow.

I turn around and behind me the land rises to the summit of Winter Hill and its assortment of radio and television masts and above these a passenger plane begins its descent to Manchester Airport. A perfect picture of the modern world, but not quite.

The mound below my feet is not a natural feature and to the people who built it television would be over 3500 years in the future. This is Noon Hill and the mound is the remains of a Bronze Age Barrow an ancient burial site.

The climate was warmer when the Barrow was built and people lived on these moors. The view would have been radically different in those days as the majority of the land in all directions would have been covered in forests. There are areas today on the moors where streams have cut below the peat and roots of ancient trees can be seen. It would though be nice to think that the Barrow was built above the forest with intention of giving the occupants the panoramic view I am enjoying.

This was the second time in a few weeks that I had stood on this spot. The first was when on a moorland walk I had come across the pile of stones that stand on the Barrow site. I knew there was something relating to the Bronze Age about this place and decided that it might be interesting to find out a little more.

My quest led me to Bolton Museum and an email to Ian Trumble the Museums resident Archaeologist and a man as I later found to have a love of the Bronze Age on the local moors. I explained that I wanted to know more of the history of Noon Hill with the intention of writing this article and was kindly invited to the Museum to view the artefacts and the historical evidence held there.

I have to admit that the two hours I spent with Ian was possibly some of the most fascinating I have experienced. He told me that the Barrow had been first excavated in 1958. Bolton and District Archaeological Society had carried out the excavation and donated their findings to the Museum.

The Barrow was found to contain the cremated remains of four bodies and a wealth of flint artefacts in the form of arrowheads, flint knives and curious perfectly round sandstone balls. Two unusually carved stones were discovered but after being photographed were lost. The main find was a pottery urn and although broken it was found to contain the cremated remains of a child. It was decided by the Museum that the urn should be restored resulting in the fine object being now on show.

I was allowed to photograph some of the finds and in doing so albeit wearing protective gloves I held in my hands over 3500 years of history. A flint arrowhead beautifully formed was still razor sharp and could quite easily be fitted to a modern shaft and in the hands of an Archer of today have the same deadly effect it was designed for.

It became apparent that Noon Hill was just one of many sites on these moors that had given up evidence of the Bronze Age. Ian showed me a bronze spearhead that had been found at Belmont in as good a condition as the day it was carried on a shaft over 3000 years ago.

I think the item that surprised me most was a perfectly crafted axe head in incredible condition. This however was not Bronze Age but as Ian explained, it was a lot older than that. This was Neolithic (New Stone Age) and was around 5000 years old. It was found at Lostock near Horwich not too far from Anglezarke. The amazing thing was that the stone it was made from was not local but from the Lake District. It is made of Greenstone found on the peak of Pike of Stickle in the Langdale Valley. It is hard to think that once this was a stone axe industry that served Great Britain.

All the artefacts pictured are on show at Bolton Museum and on Friday 29th March at 1:00 pm Ian is holding a free half hour lecture at the Museum entitled Bronze Age Bolton. My seat is booked.

All photographs were taken with the kind permission of BOLTON LIBRARY AND MUSEUM SERVICES.


More from Out & About

Meet some of the devilishly successful people who make this glorious Ribble Valley town tick.

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

The site was designated Lancashire’s first ever ‘Local Nature Reserve’ in 1968 and is also designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Read more
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A striking sculpture attracts John Lenehan to this circular walk through some oustanding scenery.

Read more
Friday, September 7, 2018

This varied selection of walks are all within ten miles of the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Natural Beauty.

Read more
Arnside Silverdale
Monday, September 10, 2018

Making a television programme about the Lakes has re-affirmed Paul Rose’s deep affection for the area

Read more
Lake District
Friday, September 7, 2018

A succesful application could see the restoration of the Japanese Gardens and the creation of a water sports centre.

Read more

Is it a village? Is it a town? Who cares when the locals take such a pride in making this such a lovely place to visit

Read more
Thursday, August 30, 2018

A new survey method could unlock the secrets of the bog bush cricket in Lancashire following their discovery on Little Woolden Moss, Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Ellie Sherlock joins the search.

Read more
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Heritage venues across the region – many of them not normally open to the public – will welcome visitors this month

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

It’s officially England’s favourite flower and if you want to see some beautiful examples, follow Linda Viney to Mawdesley

Read more
Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A circular walk which skirts the Lune estuary and takes in the Lancaster Canal and the railway line.

Read more

Behind the ancient sandstone facade of Browsholme Hall is a remarkable ethos of 21st century sustainability and care for the environment.

Read more
Thursday, August 16, 2018

Keswick really is a gem of a town – just ask anyone from jeweller Brian Fulton to mountaineering legend Sir Chris Bonington

Read more
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

From cyclists to star-gazers, Bowland is attracting more visitors. It’s Hetty Byrne’s job to ensure they have fun without harming the environment

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Property Search